Courtney Summers is the author of the 2008 release Cracked Up To Be, as well as an upcoming 2010 release, Some Girls Are. Here she is telling us what she wishes she knew when she was a teenager.
Ever since Hope asked me to participate in her blog anniversary, I've been chewing my lip over the suggested guest blog topic: Things I Wish I'd Known When I Was a Teenager. I REALLY wanted to sound both inspiring and profound in whatever I wrote, but every time I sat down and started to type, I just sounded OLD. I don't know why. It just came out that way. Maybe because these sorts of subjects are inevitably nostalgic, or maybe because I'm possessed by an octogenarian. Who knows!
It's difficult to say what I wish I'd known when I was a teenager. I've thought on it and thought on it and realized the things I maybe wish I'd known back then are actually things I wish I knew right now, as weird as that sounds. I wish I'd known not to let other people make me feel inferior and stood up for myself more--I can think of a couple recent events where I forgot this. I wish I'd known when to stop over-analyzing and just go with the flow--still struggling with that one occassionally! I wish I'd known enough to believe in myself, unwaveringly, no matter what--wellll, I still have my lapses, but who doesn't? In fact, I suspect these are things Idid know as a teenager and just forgot. And continue to forget over and over and over again.
I'm setting myself up as a rather hopeless case, I know.So what do I wish I'd known when I was a teenager? Is there anything specific I can pinpoint that might be of some value to someone who is a teenager right now? To be honest, I got nothing. That's right. I have no answer to that question. And this is why: something about that line of thought kind of speaks to regret, and I generally try not to speak to my regret because that's the kind of conversation that could go around in circles forever. Also I'm secretly afraid if I ruminate on this topic too hard I'll somehow cross the time barrier and my teenage self will end up knowing that thing I wished I knew and subsequently CHANGE THE COURSE OF MY PERSONAL HISTORY
FOREVER. Which is scary because what if there are no Lady Gaga sunglasses in my new present?
Too horrifying to contemplate, really.
So I've decided instead of telling you something I wish I'd known when I was a teenager, I'll tell you something I heard once when I was a teenager, something I have never forgotten, something I try to remind myself when I'm making a major life decision. Because sometimes when I have to make a major life decision I'm lucky and everything I need to know is in place to make the right one, but more often than not, it isn't and I have to make a decision anyway and hope for the best.
Here it is:
"In the end it's all okay. If it's not okay, it's not the end."
Isn't that great? It was introduced to me by a dear friend of mine a long time ago and though I've asked her since, neither of us can find the source (can you?). In any case, I have found that saying very helpful and will continue to find it helpful, I'm sure, at various points in my life... regardless of what I know--or wished I knew--at the time. :)
Happy blog anniversary and happy birthday, Hope!
Thank you Courtney!